Tuesday, November 24, 2009
Sometimes, keeping a little town going seems like an awful lot of work. I'm not even a town official, so I don't know the half of it. But this is fundraising season, when we all begin to feel that the fate of Our Little Town rests on our shoulders.
We could be pardoned for feeling that we're running around in a big circle asking each other for money. I picture the same dollar bills changing hands over and over and over, and never leaving town.
Over the past couple of weeks, the Brooklin Youth Corps went through probably the most star-crossed annual fund mailing we've seen in 14 years (screwed-up labels, weird addresses, thisses and thats and the other thing). The steering committee got together three times--THREE TIMES--to sort it all out, and individuals were doing stuff at home in between meetings. Then we all took letters home to write notes to our friends across the top, making sure they feel good and guilty if they ignore us.
Last week I got a phone call suggesting that I spend $15 on an apple pie to support the Parents, Teachers, Friends group, which of course I did. (Great pie. It's almost gone.) It took the PTF all day in the school kitchen to bake all the pies. They have little crust decorations on top. (The pies. Not the PTF members.)
Today I finished writing the fire department annual fund letter, with contributions by Rob, the fire chief and another firefighter, who will now go on to do their own star-crossed mailing with the same bloody labels the BYC was graced with.
I've received annual fund letters so far from the library and the historical society, who also contended with the same addresses. Oh, and there's an emergency heating fund looking for contributions, too. I think I've got a local ambulance corps fundraising letter sitting there somewhere.
Next week, we start meeting to organize publicity for the library's Valentine's Day auction. The school board is working on its budget and the selectmen just finished the town audit, preparing for their own budget horrors before Town Meeting in April.
All for one little town of 900.
And all volunteer--well, I guess the selectmen get paid something, but it's fractions of pennies per hour. Firefighters get a "gas and clothing allowance" at the end of the year, which they pretty much spend on Christmas presents. (I know that's where mine come from.) The BYC steering committee's pay consists of the moment when a grumpy teenager dressed in black with a nose-ring thanks us for having a program.
We all agree that's ample